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Overview of the TBT Committee's Work on Conformity Assessment and of the Relevant Provisions of the TBT Agreement Ludivine Tamiotti WTO, Trade and Environment.

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Presentation on theme: "Overview of the TBT Committee's Work on Conformity Assessment and of the Relevant Provisions of the TBT Agreement Ludivine Tamiotti WTO, Trade and Environment."— Presentation transcript:

1 Overview of the TBT Committee's Work on Conformity Assessment and of the Relevant Provisions of the TBT Agreement Ludivine Tamiotti WTO, Trade and Environment Division Legal Affairs Officer

2 Outline Scope of a Conformity Assessment Procedure in the TBT Agreement Main Disciplines Approaches to Facilitate the Acceptance of Conformity Assessment Results

3 Scope of a Conformity Assessment Procedure in the TBT Agreement

4 Article 5 on Procedures for Assessment of Conformity by Central Government Bodies Relevant Provisions Article 6 on Recognition of Conformity Assessment by Central Government Bodies Article 7 on Procedures for Assessment of Conformity by Local Government Bodies Article 8 on Procedures for Assessment of Conformity by Non-Governmental Bodies Article 9 on International and Regional Systems

5 To determine that relevant requirements in technical regulations or standards are fulfilled What for ? TBT Annex 1.3 Definition

6 Evaluation, verification and assurance of conformity What kind ? Sampling, testing and inspection Registration, accreditation and approval...as well as their combinations TBT Annex 1.3 Definition

7 Main Disciplines

8 Main Disciplines of the TBT Agreement Harmonization Avoidance of unnecessary obstacles to trade Avoidance of unnecessary obstacles to trade Non - Discrimination

9 Art Non-Discrimination Originating Of national origin National Treatment From any other country Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) Conditions no Less Favourable to Access of Suppliers of Like Products Conditions no Less Favourable to Access of Suppliers of Like Products

10 Non-Discrimination: What Does Access Means? Suppliers' right to an assessment of conformity under the rules of the procedure, including, when foreseen by this procedure, the possibility to have conformity assessment activities undertaken at the site of facilities and to receive the mark of the system Art

11 Avoid unnecessary obstacles to trade Must not be prepared, adopted or applied so as to Create unnecessary obstacles to international trade Art

12 Avoid unnecessary obstacles to trade CAP shall Not be More Strict or Be Applied More Strictly than is Necessary To Give the Importing Member Adequate Confidence that Products Conform, Taking Account of the Risks Non- Conformity would Create This means, inter alia,

13 Art. 5.2 Requirements on Timing CAP are undertaken & completed as expeditiously as possible The standard processing period of each CAP is published or the anticipated processing period is communicated to the applicant upon request When receiving an application, the competent body promptly examines the completeness of the documentation and informs the applicant in a precise and complete manner of all deficiencies Upon request, the applicant is informed of the stage of the procedure, with any delay being explained

14 Art. 5.2 Requirements on Information The amount of information requested must be limited to what is necessary to assess conformity and determine fees Confidentiality must be respected in the same way for domestic and foreign products and in such a manner that "legitimate commercial interests are protected"

15 Art. 5.2 Operation Conditions Any fees imposed for assessing conformity of products The siting of facilities used in CAP Ensure that the principles of non-discrimination & prevention of unnecessary barriers to trade are respected in relation to: The selection of samples Changes in the specifications of a product

16 And... Members must ensure that a procedure to review complaints concerning the operation of a CAP exists and take corrective action when a complaint is justified Art

17 And... Nothing shall prevent Members from carrying out reasonable spot checks within their territories Art. 5.3

18 And... Members are encouraged to permit the participation of CA bodies located in the territories of other Members in their own CAP under conditions no less favourable than those accorded to bodies located within their territory or the territory of any other country Art. 6.4

19 The Harmonization Principle 2 key requirements Shall play a full part in the preparation by appropriate international standardizing bodies of guides and recommendations for CAP Relevant guides or recommendations issued by international standardizing bodies shall be used as a basis for the elaboration of CAP

20 Art. 5.4 The Harmonization Principle: Use Members shall ensure that central government bodies use them, or the relevant parts of them, as a basis for their CAP Then A positive assurance is required that products conform with technical regulations or standards Relevant guides or recommendations issued by international standardizing bodies exist or their completion is imminent If +

21 The Harmonization Principle: Use Such guides or recommendations or relevant parts are inappropriate for the Members concerned Except national security requirements For, inter alia, such reasons as prevention of deceptive practices protection of human health or safety protection of animal or plant life or health protection of the environment fundamental climatic or other geographical factors fundamental technological problems fundamental infrastructural problems

22 Art. 5.5 The Harmonization Principle: Participation international standardizing bodies by appropriate international standardizing bodies of guides or recommendations for conformity assessment procedures For What ? shall Members shall play a full part in the preparation, within the limits of their resources

23 The Harmonization Principle: Participation Members are encouraged both to set up international systems for conformity assessment and to participate in such systems Art. 9.1

24 Approaches to Facilitate the Acceptance of Conformity Assessment Results

25 Suppliers Declaration of Conformity Co-operative (voluntary) arrangements b/w domestic and foreign CA bodies Second Triennial Review (2000) Indicative list of approaches to facilitate the acceptance of conformity assessment results Unilateral recognition of results of foreign CA as equivalent, incl. the possibility of government designation of specific CA bodies Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for CA between governments Use of accreditation

26 Unilateral Recognition Members have an obligation to ensure that results of conformity assessment procedures in other Members, which are equivalent to their own procedures, are accepted Art. 6.1

27 Unilateral Recognition Members are encouraged to enter into consultations in order to implement this provision Regarding in particular The limitation of the acceptance of CA results to those produced by designated bodies in the exporting Member

28 MRAs between governments: TBT Provisions Art or more Members may enter into Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) which involve the reciprocal acceptance of the results of CAP taking place in the territory of all Members concerned

29 MRAs between governments: Narrowly Defined Conditions Art. 6.3 MRAs are concluded between Members, i.e. government-to-government MRAs concern the mutual recognition of results of each other's CAP

30 MRAs between governments: Narrowly Defined Conditions Art. 6.3 Members may require that MRAs fulfill the criteria contained in Article 6.1, concerning e.g. the consideration of the technical competence of the CA bodies, the confidence in the continued reliability of their CA results, … Members may require that MRAs give mutual satisfaction regarding their potential for facilitating trade in the products concerned

31 Geographical Distribution of Notified MRAs on CA Results, by Region Involved in the Agreement

32 Notified MRAs on Conformity Assessment Results by Country Group

33 Co-operative (voluntary) arrangements b/w domestic and foreign CA bodies: Definition Arrangements among accreditation bodies directly (and not through Members and central government bodies) as well as arrangements among individual laboratories, certification bodies and inspection bodies

34 Co-operative (voluntary) arrangements b/w domestic and foreign CA bodies: Recognition Some of these arrangements, on occasion, have been recognized by governments as a basis for the acceptance of test results and certification activities in relation to specific regulations

35 SDoC: Definition CA Procedure by which a supplier provides written assurance that a product, process or service conforms to specified requirements

36 SDoC: Discussions in the TBT Committee Third Triennial Review (2003) SDoC facilitates trade Suggests ways to improve its usability and acceptance Exchange information and experiences and hold a workshop on SDoC covering issues such as: 21 March 2005

37 Use of Accreditation: Definition Procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that a body or person is competent to carry out specific tasks

38 Use of Accreditation: Definition Accreditation bodies are authoritative & independent entities that do not themselves deal with verification of product specifications This formal evaluation and recognition of competence may be applied to testing laboratories inspection bodies certification bodies Their task is to assess the organizations carrying out such functions

39 Identifies accreditation as a possible tool for Members to verify the technical competence of conformity assessment bodies in exporting country Members Use of Accreditation: Article Article Specifies that, when operated according to relevant international standards, accreditation offers a mechanism which could promote confidence

40 Overview of the TBT Committee's Work on Conformity Assessment and of the Relevant Provisions of the TBT Agreement Ludivine Tamiotti WTO, Trade and Environment Division Legal Affairs Officer


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